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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 6, Lot: 18. Estimate CHF12500. 
Closing Date: Monday, 7 May 2012. 
Sold For CHF14000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SICILY, Leontini. Circa 466-460 BC. Tetradrachm (Silver, 17.25 g 2). Charioteer, wearing long chiton and holding a goad in his right hand and the reins in his left, driving quadriga to right, its horses walking and crowned by Nike flying right above them; in exergue, lion running right. Rev. ΛΕ ΟΝ ΤΙΝ ΟΝ (retrograde from lower right) Laureate head of Artemis to right, her hair bound up at the back, wearing pendant earring and pearl necklace; around, four barley grains. BMC 9 = Boehringer, Münzgeschichte, 26. R. R. Holloway, Demarete’s Lion, ANSMN 11 (1964, pl. 1, 2. Jameson 620 = Rizzo pl. 22, 13. (all same dies). Extremely rare. Well struck and attractively toned with some original luster. About extremely fine.

Ex Numismatica Ars Classica 29, 11 May 2005, 86 (but not also ex NAC 9, 163 as they state).

This is probably the rarest of Leontini’s tetradrachm issues, and is surely one of the most controversial. The main question concerns the head on the reverse. Many have suggested it is a head of Apollo, but this can not be: the laurel (or olive?) wreath worn is not diagnostic, but the hairstyle (paralleled on many of the contemporary issues of Syracuse with Arethusa) certainly is, as are the earring and pearl necklace that are worn. We most likely have here Apollo’s sister Artemis. The issue itself is directly linked to the Demareteion series of Syracuse (they share the unusual lion symbol on their obverses) and precisely why it was struck is uncertain. In any case, this head was almost immediately changed to the head of Apollo on all subsequent issues (perhaps the coin’s very close similarity to those of Syracuse was not appreciated by the people of Leontini?).